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Nation celebrates Gandhi and Shastri Jayanti

On 2 October 2014, India celebrated the birth anniversaries of two of its greatest leaders and freedom fighters, Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, on October. Multiple events across the nation were held in remembrance of the two leaders. Various schools and institutions conducted events and functions to commemorate the day. Politicians paid their respects to Gandhi and Shastri at Raj Ghat and Vijay Ghat respectively.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

A cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched by the PM Narendra Modi. This also marks the launch of the programme itself. Many cleanliness drives across the nation were organized under the programme. Cleanliness pledges were taken by people over the country, including the PM.

 Lal Bahadur Shastri

2014 marks the 110th birth anniversary of Shastri. He was an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle since 1920. He also has the distinction of being the second PM of India, when he took over after the untimely demise of Jawaharlal Nehru. HE has also been Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of External Affairs. He is most famous for his slogan, ‘Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisan’. He revolutionized the agricultural sector during his tenure. He also oversaw the florishing of the Amul Co-operative which heralded a White Revolution in the country. He led the country successfully through the 1965 war with Pakistan. He passed away on January 11, 1966, just after signing the Tashkent Pact. He was posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna.

 Mahatma Gandhi

2014 marks the 145th birth anniversary of Gandhi. Gandhi was one of the main leaders in the Indian national movement fighting for freedom from the British. A lawyer by profession, Gandhi had been educated in the UK and had a practice in South Africa before returning to India. The date of his return to India is celebrated as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to acknowledge the large Indian expatriate community spread across the world. Gandhi’s methods, that involved non- violence, non co-operation and civil disobedience, found mass appeal in India.  He also criticized practices such as untouchability. He is considered by most Indians to be the father of the nation. He was assassinated in January 1948.

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Key points from ‘Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go’

The ‘Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go’ vision statement speaks of strengthening the strategic partnership between India and USA. This statement was released during PM Modi’s visit to Washington DC to meet President Obama. The statement expressed the following points:-

    • The strategic partnership of the two nations rests on the shared mission to provide equal opportunity to its people through democracy and freedom
    • The two countries are bound together by kinship and commerce, scholarship and science. The ties between the people of both countries and their cooperation has resulted in developments in science and the arts. This enables the leaders of both countries to have a long term perspective as regards the partnership
  • One major goal of the partnership is prosperity and peace. This endeavor shall be fulfilled through intense consultations, joint exercises, and shared technology. Security cooperation between the two will be targeted at the region and the world at large too. The countries also aim to work together towards combating terrorist threats, keeping its county and its peoples safe and responding to humanitarian disasters. The countries also dedicate themselves to stopping the spread of WMDs, reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, and promoting universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament
  • Close cooperation between the two at the UN and beyond
  • Support for India assuming a greater multilateral responsibility, including in a reformed UNSC and for an open and inclusive rules based global order
  • Working together to mitigate the impact of climate change and adapt to the changing environment. Cooperation between the government and the science and academic communities to address the consequences of unchecked pollution. Take steps to ensure availability of affordable, reliable, clean and diverse sources of energy for both nations, including by bringing nuclear power technologies of American origin to India
  • Engaging in joint research and collaboration in a variety of areas from particles of creation to outer space
  • Striving for open markets that will allow trade and service to flourish. Also work towards ensuring that economic growth results in better livelihoods and welfare for all people in the country.
  • The two countries will also work jointly to counter infectious diseases, eliminate maternal and child deaths and to eradicate poverty
  • The countries will also work to provide a secure environment which encourages the fullest empowerment of women
  • The countries also agreed to expand and deepen their strategic partnership so that they may harness the inherent potential of the two democracies and its people.

Other than Business Diplomacy a major aim of the PM’s visit was to re-engage with USA and rejuvenate the Indo-US strategic partnership which reached its peak at the signing of the 123 agreement and has since slowly fizzled out. The ‘Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go’ vision statement discusses the varied areas wherein the two countries might benefit from co-operation and collaboration. This statement acts as a roadmap to the future Indo-US partnership, and speaks to how the two countries view each other’s roles in the international arena.

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India’s neighbours support PM Modi’s call for International Yoga Day

In his address to the UNGA, Prime Minister Modi called for celebration of International Yoga Day on 21 June every year. He stated by ‘changing lifestyle’ and ‘creating consciousness’, one can deal with climate change. He claimed that the ancient practice that has been passed on through the ages is a gift of India’s tradition to the world.

India’s neighbours, namely, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh have already expressed to PM Modi their support for his initiative, with Sri Lanka having given its support in writing.

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